Healthcare technology firm supports smart, scalable, cost-effective medical education with Azure
March 29, 2019
Education Management Solutions (EMS) is a healthcare education technology pioneer that enables medical schools and students to simulate surgery and other clinical conditions with incredible accuracy. Students find these simulations invaluable, but setting up an on-premises simulation environment is both costly and complex. EMS knew that the answer lay in the cloud, so it decided to support its SIMULATIONiQ platform with Microsoft Azure. Now EMS offers a flexible and accessible simulation service, where institutions use live video and other online resources to provide more students with deep, consistent, highly valuable training experiences.
We use Azure to make everything easier for us and our customers. It’s easier to deploy and scale our platform and easier than ever for institutions to access powerful healthcare education resources.
Alok Saxena: Chief Technology Officer
Education Management Solutions
Medical education that comes to life
A young surgical student leans over an anesthetized patient on an operating table, about to conduct a relatively simple procedure. But as the student makes her first incision, she is all too aware that a literal scalpel’s edge could be the difference between a routine operation and a life-threatening situation.
For our aspiring surgeon, the tension is real, but we can relax. Her patient is not a person; it’s an extremely sophisticated high-fidelity mannequin. The student is training in a medical simulation center, under the watchful eyes of high-resolution video recorders, streaming live so students and doctors in other places can monitor the procedure in real time. If she does make a mistake, the mannequin will react exactly like a live patient, from vital signs to tissue responses. Even if the worst happens, the student and her peers—and ultimately patients—may still benefit from analyses of the wealth of data collected during the simulation.
Though invaluable for medical education, these simulations require significant digital capacity. It’s difficult, costly, and time-consuming to build and operate a simulation center. Many institutions serve multiple campuses, so they must find ways to ensure that students and instructors can access the appropriate simulation resources.
Terabytes of data and high-resolution video—in the cloud
Education Management Solutions (EMS) is a medical education technology provider that delivers its SIMULATIONiQ clinical simulation management platform to some of the biggest medical schools and teaching hospitals in the United States. Medical educators and certification boards use SIMULATIONiQ to bring their simulation hardware, programs, people, and processes into a single, simplified view that creates efficiencies and improves clinical outcomes.
EMS wanted to help its customers store and process terabytes of data from the dozens of sensors in the high-fidelity mannequins, an array of other medical devices, and high-resolution video recorders streaming to multiple locations. So, the company decided to support SIMULATIONiQ in the cloud with Microsoft Azure.
A solution that’s easier to deploy, scale, and access
For EMS—a longstanding member of the Microsoft Partner Network—past successes with Microsoft technology and easy scalability of service made Azure the company’s clear cloud choice. “When SIMULATIONiQ customers stream video data, it can cause big ebbs and flows in bandwidth demand,” says Lynn Welch, Vice President of Business Development and Marketing at Education Management Solutions. “We like how we can use Azure to scale and expand the solution as our customers need it.”
Institutions that run SIMULATIONiQ help safeguard simulation data and other potentially sensitive healthcare information by using Azure App Service to provide automated antivirus and other security updates. Institutions, clinicians, and students can access simulation data from anywhere, so their education experiences don’t stop when they leave the simulation center.
“We use Azure to make everything easier for us and our customers,” says Alok Saxena, Chief Technology Officer at Education Management Solutions. “It’s easier to deploy and scale our platform and easier than ever for institutions to access powerful healthcare education resources.”
Connected medical education
Today, when a team conducts a simulation, students on multiple campuses can follow along live through Azure Media Services. Clinicians and medical analysts from across the institution can process the simulation data to help students better understand their performance. And the students themselves can access their own data—and libraries of simulation recordings—wherever and however they want to.
That creates less need to duplicate resources or install more hardware than necessary. And with simulation resources accessible to everyone, nobody gets left behind. Institutions that use SIMULATIONiQ can use Azure resources like Azure Data Lake to keep active simulations ready for playback while archiving other data in separate, low-cost data stores.
Better outcomes for everybody
Like healthcare in general, medical educators must always keep costs top of mind, and by supporting SIMULATIONiQ with Azure, EMS can help its customers do more—and drastically simplify their infrastructure footprint. With the flexibility in Azure, EMS is prepared to extend its platform to include other advanced technologies such as machine learning and augmented reality.
“We use Azure to help our customers expand their educational offerings in an environment where many institutions are consolidating,” says Welch.
More than a simple cloud migration, moving SIMULATIONiQ to Azure heralds a significant transformation at EMS—and better outcomes for institutions, medical students, and their future patients.
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We use Azure to help our customers expand their educational offerings in an environment where many institutions are consolidating.
Lynn Welch: Vice President, Business Development and Marketing
Education Management Solutions